Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria has said the state police would provide protection to a key witness in the Chinkara poaching case, who surfaced after Bollywood actor Salman Khan was acquitted by the high court, if he asks for it in writing.
The witness, Harish Dulani, was driving the jeep used by Khan during the alleged chinkara hunt in Jodhpur in 1998. He claimed that he had not come forward earlier due to threats to his life.
“He never approached us and did not bring this issue to notice. If he gives anything in writing, arrangement for his protection would be made. If he does not come, he will be contacted by the local police,” Kataria said.
Dulani was reported to be “missing” since 2002, and was major blow to the prosecution’s case against Khan. He resurfaced two days after the actor was acquitted, sticking to his claim that the actor did in fact shoot the animal dead.
The Rajasthan high court in its verdict had said the pellets recovered from the Chinkaras were not fired from Khan’s licensed gun. Khan was jailed in 2007 for nearly a week for shooting a Chinkara (gazelle), an endangered species.
While arguing the case in court, Khan’s lawyer contended that the actor had been falsely framed in these cases, merely on the statements of Dulani.
The lawyer argued that Dulani was never available to them for cross-examination and hence his statements could not be relied upon in the conviction of Khan.
He had also contended that both the cases have been built on circumstantial evidence and there was no eyewitness or material evidence against the actor.